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Busy offseason for local tennis players
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Ceres High's Chase Harden, Rene Cortes, Juan Jimenez, Nolan McCaig and Julio Ochoa, and former Bulldog Marifer Ochoa represented Modesto Fitness & Racket Club at the 2014 USTA Jr. Team Tennis-Northern California Summer Section Championships, Aug. 1-3, in the Fresno area.

Harden teamed up with players from Grace Davis, Downey, Gregori, Riverbank, Oakdale and Riverbank high schools as MFRC captured the 18-and-under co-ed intermediate flight championship.

Chase and Gregori's Andrew Eng compiled a perfect 3-0 record in No. 1 doubles play.

"We had a big group of people watching," head coach Bryan Harden said. "It pumped them up. They've played together at the club before. They have experience."

MFRC will represent Northern California at Nationals in South Carolina this October.

"We have to raise money to go," coach Harden said.

Cortes and Jimenez propelled the MFRC's 18-and-under intermediate boys team to a third-place finish.

Rene contributed at singles.

Juan logged playing time at singles and doubles.

"They did great," Bryan Harden said.

McCaig and Julio Ochoa suited up for the MFRC's 18-and-under advanced boys team, which posted a 1-2 record.

Nolan and Julio played No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively.

Marifer Ochoa, a 2014 Ceres High grad, helped lead the MFRC's 18-and-under girls advanced team to a runner-up finish.

Ochoa starred at No. 1 singles.

MFRC players practiced and competed once a week prior to traveling to the Fresno area for the Jr. Team Tennis-NorCal Summer Section Championships.

"The kids that I have generally don't play during the offseason," coach Harden said. "The summer season is not that long. Every little bit of playing helps. It takes them a while to get back to where they were when they finished the (high-school) season. We have to improve to be competitive."